SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Popular Malvern-based golf course architect Gil Hanse is back for a fourth year as a member of Fox Sports’ broadcast team at the U.S. Open, and he again will try to achieve his primary goals.
“I always start the year off with the notion that I don’t want to throw up on national TV and I don’t want to embarrass my kids,” Hanse said, “and if I can accomplish both of those by Sunday evening, I’m in good shape. I enjoy it. It’s a week where it’s fun. You get to come in and really focus on a golf course.”
Hanse said his role on the telecasts will be to talk about Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, venue for this year’s Open, from the perspective of “architecture and agronomy,” something he’s become more comfortable with over the last three years at Chambers Bay, Oakmont, and Erin Hills.
He tries to make sure that he speaks in terms that the common golfer understands.
“We talk about things like false fronts on the greens,” he said. “What is a false front? Explain it. So to explain these little terms that get thrown out there, I try to do it the best way possible.”
Hanse, whose company completed the restoration last spring of Aronimink Golf Club, host of the BMW Championship, a FedExCup playoff event, later this year, is a big fan of Shinnecock Hills, a William Flynn course that opened in 1931.
“It’s just so special,” he said. “It’s great in its designs, its history, its traditions. It’s kind of everything I believe in golf architecture. I love the width and the angles. I love the presentation, the aesthetic of this golf course, the sort of open landscape, the native grasses. That just fits what I think of when I think about a great golf course.”
Miller’s whirlwind week
This has been a busy time for Cole Miller, the former Penn State star who arrived here Monday after making his Mackenzie Tour-Canada debut, his first event as a professional, on the West Coast in British Columbia.
Miller, who finished in a tie for 23rd at the Bayview Place DCBank Open in Victoria, will begin his first Open off No. 1 tee at 8:46 a.m. Thursday. He’ll try to find the balance in staying focused and having fun.
“For me, I just like to have fun out there,” said Miller, from New Tripoli, Pa., near Allentown. “That puts my mind at ease. When I’m having fun, it usually keeps things under control. If worse comes to worse, I usually have to just slow down – take a couple of deep breaths, walk slow, relax.
“I think the most important thing is just committing to the center of those greens. Everyone wants to start pin-hunting, but you can’t do that out here. The second you do that, you make bogey, if not double. If you can keep yourself disciplined, putts are going to drop.”
Senior women in spotlight
The U.S. Golf Association reserved time at the end of its annual pre-Open news conference to tout the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open next month at Chicago Golf Club. Entries are limited to women 50 and older.
“We’re hopeful that this event would come to fruition, and it’s been many years in the making,” 1980 U.S. Women’s Open champion Amy Alcott said. “So obviously, we’re really thrilled. Golf doesn’t stop when you’re 50 as we know it. Kudos to the USGA for stepping up to the plate and doing the right thing.”